It’s June, and on the 21st of this month, we celebrate the International Yoga Day, celebrated once a year since 2015, when it first designated as Yoga Day. Yoga is not a new fad, and its benefits are many. Indians, and many foreigners, even, who have visited India, have taken to Yoga for their well being and are its staunch ambassadors. The International Yoga Day is also a result of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s firm push for Yoga as a holistic tool for one’s well being. In many interviews, he has mentioned about how he gets up early and performs Yoga and meditation, and how it helps him to stay alert and active, during his long working days.
But, is Yoga really for everyone? How can immobile people take to Yoga, and can elderly do Yoga, especially when their body is not flexible enough? How do you get to benefit from Yoga, when the aching joints and muscles do not allow you much movement? The solution to all these questions is what is called as chair Yoga. Yes, indeed Yoga is for everyone, and it is inclusive. So, even if you are immobile to a certain extent, you can still do certain Yoga poses, from the comfort and safety of your chair.
Seated Mountain Pose
In Yoga, each pose is what is called an Asana, and this pose is called Tadasana. To get into this pose, use a straight-backed chair with no arms on the side. Here is what you can do:
1. Sit as much as you can comfortably on the edge on the chair, with your spine straight.
2. The feet should remain flat and touch the ground, with your ankles coming directly under your knees.
3. Keep your hands comfortably flat, facing downward on your knees.
4. Push down on the chair with your buttocks, while keeping your neck and head up straight, and look straight across the room at some object. The spine should feel the stretch.
5. Breathe in, roll down your shoulders, pull in your navel, relax your arms, and try to levitate your toes.
Repeat this pose a few times, and this helps with your body posture and spine health.
This is a simple stretch exercise that can be done without much hassle. Just sit comfortably straight in the chair and take a deep breath.
1. Raise both your arms above your head, straight up.
2. Exhales slowly and bring the arms down again. Repeat this a few times.
3. Repeat this exercise with your fingers stretched wide apart a few times.
This exercise helps your shoulders and finger joints.
Another simple chair Yoga pose, this one also does not involve any great movements. Just sit comfortably straight on the chair and hold your arms up on both sides. Take a few deep breaths as you do this. The gently exhale and bring your arms crossed in front of you, bring them to grab yourself and hug yourself for a few moments. Release, relax, and repeat this two to three times. This exercise helps provide flexibility in your shoulders and wrists.
Cat and Cow Stretches
For this pose, you need to first get into the mountain pose. Then breathe in gently and arch your spine inwards so that your belly and chest is pushed slightly forward. Look up slightly and hold this pose for a few seconds. When you exhale, roll your shoulders mildly and drop your chin to the chest, so your shoulder and head is forward, and spine is no longer pulled in since you have exhaled. Repeat this a few times for improved spinal mobility.
Once again, get back to the mountain pose, inhale deeply, and start bending forward your torso, till your hands are touching your feet. The torso will rest on your thigh, and hands will rest on your feet. Hold the pose for a few minutes, relax, and get back. Repeat a few times again, as it is a good spinal stretch and helps your back muscles as well. The digestion also improves as a result of this.
Note: If there are any issues with bending, or you are suffering from vertigo, etc., kindly check with your doctor before doing this pose.
For this exercise, you will need to use a chair with arms. Sit comfortably with a straight spine and breathe in deeply, and raise your arms straight up ahead. Slowly exhale and bring down your arms, while twisting your body slightly, without causing any inconvenience to any parts. Hold your arms on the side to which you are twisting. Repeat to the other side after a breather. This helps improve blood circulation and also relieves lower back pain.
Please note that all the above poses or asanas areas suggested by the experts who have used them to help seniors stay mobile. However, if you have any specific medical conditions or issues, it is better to not try any of these without proper consultation or guidance. It is always better to first consult a certified Yoga instructor who could you if required at home and teaches you these simple poses to stay safe as you do it.
You could pick the poses from here or anywhere else as suitable.